Frequently Asked Questions
What are the course timings?
Small Animal Medicine & Small Animal Surgery
Attendance on the taught modules is typically once monthly on a weekday between 2.00pm and 8.00pm however, where there are case-based discussion webinars or practical sessions these times may vary.
All other Postgraduate programmes
Attendance on the taught modules is from 9.30am-17.00pm.
Practical Surgery & Ultrasound Courses
|Day 1||Day 2|
|9.00am Registration||8.30am Registration|
|9.30am Course starts||9.00 Course starts|
|17.00 Course finishes||16.30 Course finishes|
Nurse Certificate programmes
9.30am Course starts
17.00 Course finishes
9.00am Course starts
17.30 Course finishes
Tell me more about Improve International
Improve International was established in 1998 by a group of veterinary surgeons from across the UK, including a number of recognised experts. We provide the highest quality CPD in a format that allows you to develop your skills and knowledge in a logical and progressive fashion, under the supervision of dedicated Course Directors, each of whom has the highest qualifications in his or her field.
Our courses are run in venues across the UK and also in a number of other countries including Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Who are Improve’s partners?
We are in partnership with Harper Adams University (HAU) and the European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ESVPS) to ensure the highest academic standards.
Harper Adams University
Founded in 1901, HAU has a long, proud tradition of the highest educational standards and is widely recognised for the quality of its education. HAU validate Improve’s PgC programmes and ensures the teaching elements and examination processes meet the highest academic standards.
Is an awarding body who accredits and awards veterinary qualifications. They provide assessments in the form of assignments and examinations for all programmes.
What is a Postgraduate Certificate (PgC)?
The PgC is a university qualification which provides 60 academic credits. The qualification is positioned at masters level seven within the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) framework for higher and further education. The 60 credits can be used towards achieving a PgD 120 credits and a Masters degree which represents 180 credits at level seven. The PgC is a recognised academic qualification which will demonstrate that you have achieved a certain standard in that subject.
What is the criteria for enrolment?
All applicants must:
- Hold a veterinary qualification
- Have spent a minimum of two years in veterinary practice
- UK-based applicants must also be on the RCVS Home Practising Register, whilst applicants based outside the UK must hold a qualification that would entitle them to register as a member of the RCVS
Additionally, UK-based veterinary surgeons who qualified from 2007 onwards must have completed the RCVS Professional Development Phase (PDP) before they can enrol.
Over what time period can I take the taught modules?
You can take up to 3 years to spread your taught modules.
Are Improve’s Postgraduate Certificates academically equivalent to the RCVS CertAVP and other postgraduate certificates?
Yes. Each PgC is a recognised higher education qualification as validated by Harper Adams University. The qualification represents Level 7 (Masters) within the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It provides 60 transferable academic credits at this level. The qualifications are therefore, by definition, academically equivalent.
I have previously achieved a GPCert. Can I use this towards a PgC?
You are able to “upgrade” from a GPCert to a PgC within 5 years of the GPCert exam date. Please contact ESVPS for further information – ESVPS.
How are Improve’s PgC programmes different to other providers?
How many hours will I spend on my certificate?
A PgC comprises 600 hours of notional study. This is typically made up of the following:
- 100 hours of taught sessions and ten hours of practical experience for Small Animal Medicine
- 70 hours of taught sessions and 48 hours of practical experience for Small Animal Surgery
- 82-94 hours preparing for and reflecting on the taught sessions. This includes pre and post course online evaluation and self-reflection
- 200 hours of independent study, including the preparation and writing of assignments
- 200 hours preparing for final examination
How will I be assessed?
At the beginning of the programme you will receive a syllabus and specific learning objectives for all of the taught modules.
During the programme you will be required to document your current knowledge and skills prior to each module and undertake an informal short multiple choice exercise. After the module you will then undertake a further multiple choice exercise to reflect on knowledge gained and implement a strategy to address any outstanding knowledge and skills gaps via independent study.
ESVPS provide the assessments, please refer to the Postgradute Certificate area for more information.
The final examination takes place yearly covering the course syllabus. You must have attended all modules to be entered for the final exam.
What resources will be available to support me through the PgC?
All delegates will receive a subscription to Harper Adam’s online e-library providing access to 1,000s of scientific articles and abstracts.
Medicine delegates will be provided with a ‘Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine’ by Ettinger & Feldman and Surgery delegates with ‘Veterinary Surgery’ by Tobias and Johnston.
Surgery delegates will also receive a total of five ‘How to’ DVDs by Professor Howard Seim of Colorado University illustrating key surgical procedures.
The Improve Learning Management System (LMS) provides access to a notes library, discussion forum and other study resources including webinars.
A dedicated Programme Tutor will support every individual during their PgC programme to ensure a rewarding and successful learning journey.
More information can be found on our Learning Support page
ESVPS will also provide support with assignments.
Will Improve’s PgCs enable me to apply for the RCVS Advanced Practitioner Status?
Yes the following programmes are recognised PgCs enabling you to apply for the RCVS Advanced Practitioner Status:
Small Animal Medicine, Small Animal Surgery, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Feline Practice, Exotic Animal Practice, Cardiology, Diagnostic Imaging and Emergency Medicine & Surgery.
Endoscopy and Endosurgery is pending recognition as an eligible entry qualification.
For Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery there is an additional requirement for evidence of Professional Key Skills CPD, access to this will be provided at the end of your programme. The fee is £625 (no VAT) and delivered through Harper Adams University.
For further information please see RCVS website.
How can I fit a modular CPD programme into my busy life?
Our PgC programmes are flexible to try to enable you to fit study in to busy practice life. With our Clinical PgCs, we have tried to ensure two modules are offered back-to-back for the duration of the course to reduce your travel time and costs and make the learning experience more immersive. With our Medicine and Surgery PgCs, these are run every month from 2-8pm, therefore reducing the amount of time out of practice.
I want to register on a modular course but I may be away for some of the modules. Does this mean I will miss out?
No. We understand that you are busy professionals and aim to be as flexible as possible.
Whilst we need advance notice if you are going to be unable to attend a particular module, we will make every effort to find you an alternative venue and date. If the alternative dates don’t suit, you can attend the missed module when the programme runs the following year. The only restriction is that you need to attend all of the taught modules before you can sit the relevant ESVPS examination.
Online Bitesize CPD
Where do I login to access Online Bitesize CPD?
On the homepage of this website, click the link which says “Sign In”. A drop down list of CPD areas will display, select Bitesize.
I have forgotten my website login username – how do I retrieve this?
If you have forgotten your website username please contact us using firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01793 759159.
I am having issues with logging into my account?
The username for your account will be the email address you provided when signing up to our Bitesize online CPD. You would have been sent an email containing the case sensitive password within 24 hours of signing up to Bitesize. You can copy and paste the password into the password box.
I have not received an email with my login details?
Login details take 24 hours to be processed, if you have not received an email please do check your trash or junk folder in your email account as some servers do default this email into either folder. If you still have no password after 24 hours; please do contact Improve International via email@example.com or (01793) 759159 for your password to be resent to you.
I am having technical issues with the Bitesize site or an individual course
Bitesize has its own support service, whether it is help with using the platform or perhaps a technical issue. To access this please login to the Bitesize platform and click on the support tab on the top bar, here you will have an option to choose either: How to use Bitesize or the Technical Support Forum.
Can I pay by Direct Debit?
What payment methods do you accept?
For all one and two-day courses payment is due upon registration. Payments can be made by credit card or BACS.
We offer the following flexible payment options on our modular programmes, see the individual programmes for more information.
Who is ESVPS?
European School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ESVPS) is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2003 with the remit of accrediting veterinary CPD and awarding a range of Certificates on a pan-European basis. ESVPS has extensive experience in the veterinary industry of providing assessments that assess knowledge and understanding for training courses that have been accredited by them.
If I sit and pass an ESVPS examination, will the RCVS include it in their register?
As the GPCert qualifications are new, there is no guarantee at this time that the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons will include the qualification in their Register. This does not, however, prevent individuals from listing the qualification after their name in their own documents or business notices.
Do I have to register for the ESVPS certificate to attend a General Practitioner Certificate programme?
No. Many previous delegates have completed courses with no desire to enrol for a certificate and have benefited enormously.